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OPINION: Take ‘caretaker’ to another degree, a wider level

By GHK Lall

The judicial position is that there is a ‘caretaker’ government in Guyana; or it should think of itself and operate as one. Once again, it came down through reiteration that this has to be hammered out at the local level. No alien hands and minds; no foreign ingredients. Local, it must be. And I think that everyone knows what that means.

Nothing starts or ends reasonably acceptably without a sitting down, without exchanging and listening, and without readying for movement towards, not the perfect point, or the most satisfying one; but one that offers a way out from the quagmire that cements fatally.

To this end, I suggest that ‘caretaker’ be acknowledged (I think it has been, at least philosophically), and that in sitting and meeting and sharing, there is expansion of what ‘caretaker’ means currently. That is, it is inclusive of a broad political front, which is representative of more than the two political majors. That expansion can only come from sitting and discussing how to buy time, so as to give space, to get some insoluble things done. Things that everyone (I have to believe) desires to get executed; things that have eluded. No definition, no interpretation should be needed.

Because, at this hard, bitter impasse neither political group, neither leader, neither in outlook nor calculation, wishes or welcomes the other behind at the wheel and charting the direction forward alone. Alone is absolutely unacceptable. Alone is not credible. Alone is not trusted. Alone is not an option. All of this should be more than obvious; more than deniable or arguable. Thus, let there be getting on with the only option on the table, known, and which offers some respite, some opening towards a way forward.

My thinking is that there has to be willingness:1) to go to parliament to reach agreements with preconditions attached now; 2) to publicize that the first, nonnegotiable precondition is that ‘caretaker’ government must include opposition; 3) to identify other preconditions that give time and opportunity to craft mutually acceptable compromises on name, list, and date through the even more acceptable mechanism of a governing, binding constitution; 4) to incorporate providing for involving a cross-section of society (more local, less foreign) in the work at hand; 5) to go to parliament and give those (and others) broader visions the hard, sacred shell of law; and 6) to obtain a public commitment from the political parties to adhere faithfully to what is finalized.

No more tricks. No more ultimatums. No more media electioneering. No more of these cast-iron positions that leave either side no alternative but to reject, and to dig in heels deeper. I admit that none of this is profound nor even unprecedentedly wise and groundbreaking. It is simply what the temperature and texture of the political, racial, and social environments (and atmospheres) demand unalterably.

Look at where we are as a people (nowhere), as a nation (nonexistent), even as an entity of some whole (unrecognizable). For the sum of the racial, political, and local parts currently does not add up to any kind of constructive, functioning whole. We are just parts working and competing and confronting in wearying, diminishing, decaying detriment to the healthy operating of the body politic. The courts just appreciated that and will have none of it, other than nuanced and studied guidance, as is the wont of such tribunals.

Nothing that was said is binding. That has to originate from us, nurtured by us, wanted by us, and then worked towards fulfillment, however partially, by us. That is what binds. Anything else, anything less or different, is the height of stupidity and a denial of all that is practical and possibly promising.

Already, there has been resort to the usual talking. Leads no one nowhere, but back to the treadmill of the same place and in the same breathless, unhealthy state. What do we as leaders, as commentators and critics, as observers and reporters as citizens and supporters have to show for that kind of thinking? For our efforts? For our insistent commitment to the unworkable? To the unacceptable?

Now that there is exhaustion of the judicial avenues, where does that leave matters, but to what and where (and with whom) we have always been? And that is with ourselves: our weaknesses and warts, our woes and our weeping. If leaders are genuine about nationhood and peoplehood and destiny of this troubled land, then they know what they have to do, what has to be sacrificed, what can work for taking to another place.

I say it yet again: let there be the authenticity of a different kind of resolve: there is no need for foreigners any more. Let it be local handiwork. There is that word about ‘caretaker.’ Then let us commit—honesty, cleanly, genuinely commit—to taking care of the demanding business at hand. It starts by caring enough to take caretaking to where it has to belong. May God bless Guyana.

Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.